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Here we go with the last article of the International SEO series before we have our free webinar and Q&A round December 16th 2010 10pm PT.

How can web analytics help me to guess analyze what is going on in my international strategy? Pretty obvious answer: Segment!

The sum of traffic from all the international sites in a report is nice but useless. Actions taken based on non-segmented data, and without taking local culture or habits into consideration, have high probabilities to fail.

Culture and habits of your visitors

Another extra layer of information is required to get real actionable insight from data mining: get to know the cultural aspects of the markets you are targeting otherwise you will not understand how regional context may influence user habits and thus the stats you are analyzing.

For example, Mediterranean counties Internet use is driven more by social factors than anything else, while Nordic countries rely on the internet for more pragmatic, functional purposes. Could this have some impact while segmenting different user behavior by country? Yes.

Local habits have something to say here too, Spaniards prefer to fill their online carts at noon while Swedes do it around 9pm. Maybe you noticed this kind of trend in your data and now you know why, which can help you discard some incorrect hypothesis.

Segment audience by country and / or language

Segmenting by region, country, language or combinations of those three–based on how many variables we have in your particular equation–is crucial to success.

How you segment depends on how your content is organized: different domains per country, subdomains or subdirectories. But be sure you have at least different profiles for each country or language. This makes it easy to see at a glance how every country is doing.

The Internet has no national borders so this idea of segmenting by country could be also used the other way round: to check your not-international strategy.

Let’s imagine you have a Canadian site with .ca domain in English and you are not targeting the US neighbors south the border. Some of them are going to visit your site anyway but how many?

In this case only 4% are coming from abroad, nothing to worry about.

Back to international scenario. Now we are targeting different countries with the same language like Spain and other Latin American countries. Ideally visitors should be reaching their own country site, how many of those go across borders?

Creating some Advanced segments by region or country these are the numbers:

I would not worry for this 3.38% of non-latin countries but the 18.27% coming from South and Central America to the site of Spain is something I should try to decrease as much as possible in my SEO work.

Create filter to segment keywords by country specific Search Engines

Below is a Google Analytics filter to get more granular information about the local versions of search engines that visitors are using and the specific keywords coming from those engines.

Suppose we have a multilingual site targeting international students or tourists. Does the country of visit, search engine country version and language of the keyword match? You would be surprised how, under certain circumstances, it won’t match at all. This filter helps you get more insight by giving greater context to these visitors.

Create a new filter and apply to a new or test profile (just in case).

Let it active several days and check Keywords report selecting ‘source’ in the drop box and this is what you will see.

Isn’t it great? This information will help you to localize better your multilingual content optimization Enjoy.

Next quarter a new series of articles focusing another SEO topic will be paving the path to a new webinar. Stay tuned.